The Georgetown Public Library will receive a $16,000 reimbursement on the utility impact fee it paid in 2010, but must continue paying its quarterly water, sewer and trash bills.
Georgetown Town Council approved the reimbursement, but denied the library board of director's waiver request at its Nov. 14 meeting.
"Getting back the $16,000 pleases us greatly," Jack Martin, the library board's secretary/treasurer, said this week. "We don't want to make a big deal out of the decision on the fees, but at this point it's safe to say we'll go back next year and resubmit our request."
The library had been excused from the town's monthly utility billing at its former location at 10 W. Pine St., for a savings of about $165 per quarter on average. However, town council opted not to renew that waiver when the library opened at its new location at 123 W. Pine St. in August 2010.
The library board had requested that council reconsider that decision this month, taking into account the library's status as a non-profit. If approved, the request would have saved the library between $250 and $275 per quarter, town officials said.
Town Manager Gene Dvornick said the Georgetown Fire Company and Station 93 of the Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service are the only non-profit agencies currently excused from paying the town's utility fees.
"I totally support the concept of our first responders benefitting from the waiver, but I do not intend to open the door any further, especially given that our residents pay some of the highest water and sewer rates in the county," Town Councilman Linda Dennis said prior to council's unanimous vote to deny the library's request. "Until they get some relief, I'm not inclined to provide the waiver to any other entity."
Mayor Mike Wyatt said the decision was made without prejudice.
"Do I blame them for asking? No," he said. "You never get anything unless you ask."
What the library board did get was a $16,000 reimbursement on the $24,000 water and sewer impact fee it paid when the new branch opened.
That fee is calculated based on the number of plumbing fixtures in a given structure.
While the former library building used nearly 7,000 gallons of water per month, town officials had estimated the new branch, with its 27 plumbing fixtures and landscape irrigation system, would consume three times that amount.
But, town council had promised to re-examine that estimation once the library had established a record of actual usage.
Dvornick said 18 months of billing indicated that usage to be substantially less than the original estimate.
Martin said he believes the initial estimate was so high because the irrigation system was overdesigned.
"We found out two of its five zones were irrigating our stormwater retention pond and the whole system was programmed to run too often," he said. "We readjusted it after we got our first water bill and it's been pretty reasonable since then."
Page 2 of 2 - Martin said the library board plans to use the $16,000 reimbursement to pay down a loan it used to purchase furniture for the new branch.